JOHANNESBURG, The South African Communist Party (SACP), a partner of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) in the Tripartite Alliance, says South African and ANC Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa will address the party’s congress in Boksburg, near here, on Wednesday, after the SACP asked the ANC not to send President Jacob Zuma.

The SACP congress began on Monday and the party has led calls for Zuma to resign after accusing him of leading an administration which is crippled by corruption.

The SACP says its decision not to invite Zuma to address the congress is also influenced by the embarrassing incident in which he was booed by members of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), the third member of the Tripartite Alliance, during this year’s May Day rally in Bloemfontein.

SACP Second Deputy General Secretary Solly Mapaila said Monday: The Communist Party has asked the President to step down. We felt the need to inform the ANC that they can send any other delegate than the President. We wrote a letter to the ANC to indicate that it will be preferable if the President is not sent here.

Meanwhile, Mapaila said the departure of Blade Nzimande as the communist party’s leader will undermine efforts to project the party as a united front. This follows confirmation that Nzimande will stay on as SACP General Secretary after this week’s party national leadership elections.

Nzimande, who is also Education Minister, has been at the helm of the party’s leadership for 18 years.

The party’s several provincial leaders have proposed that Mapaila ascend to the top leadership position, a move which was rebuffed by the majority of the party’s top brass.

Mapaila remains a popular figure within the Communist Party after leading and participation in various campaigns against alleged State capture and calling on President Jacob Zuma to step down. He has, however, expressed the need not to tamper with the current leadership under Nzimande.

“I will not be available to contest (against) Comrade Blade, not because I’m intimidated to do so but because of the political unity of the Communist Party. We are bringing a united organization and to us its a proud achievement we give to our delegates.”

SACP First Deputy General Secretary Jeremy Cronin will retire from that position after serving in this portfolio for 22 years.

Cronin has strongly spoken out against State capture and has called for the ANC to allow its MPs to vote in secret during the upcoming motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma in Parliament.

Addressing a media briefing at the SACP’s National Congress in Boksburg, Cronin, who is also Deputy Minister of Public Works, said the time had come for him to make way for new blood.